Athlete spotlight: Katie Ryan
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Merry Christmas, Aspen! I’m still unpacking my bags from my most recent sojourn, and I’ve been home since Sunday. Guess you could say I’ve been a little preoccupied. Most of my time is spent on the hill, but also wrapping gifts and indulging in holiday traditions with my family and friends.
For the past five weeks, I’ve been on the road. The final two weeks were spent in Canada and before that, Vail and Copper. Alberta was by far the nicest it’s ever been as far as weather goes. I actually didn’t have to worry about frostbite this time around!
As far as the racing is concerned, the Colorado and Alberta NorAms did not fare as well as I would have hoped. Let’s just say I was in a bit of a rut, and I’ll be the first to admit it. When you don’t score and only finish seven races out of the last 15, you could call that a deep rut. I’ve been skiing fast in training – often the fastest – and I’m confident that I’m the most prepared out there. Problem was, as soon as I got in the start gate, I would start thinking.
To give yourself a chance to succeed, you have to shut your brain off, just for a minute, and throw down. You risk taking a tighter line, riding a flat ski, grabbing your tuck all for shaving off a tenth of a second – but trying to think minimally is the greatest risk because, for the most part, you’re letting your body take over.
I love being on the road, living minimally out of a suitcase, living and training with such a dedicated group of girls, and enjoying the journey. Luckily, this has become just another rut I’ve climbed my way out of. I’ve gone from skiing in fear of staying on the team to skiing in an attempt to make the coaches notice, and that is the biggest difference.
Being back home for a week and a half is wonderful any time of the year, but this week especially has been great. Just today, my mom made me pancakes, I trained six runs of slalom with AVSC, freeskied top to bottoms on Ajax, mailed a care package to an injured teammate, and now I’m off to a meeting with the Aspen Skiing Co., and then a dinner with the family. Just a day in the life, really.
Keep praying for snow, Aspen. It will come!
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